In documents leaked yesterday, The Heartland Institute, a right-wing think tank funded at various times by the Koch family, ExxonMobil and and R.J. Reynolds, detailed plans to create a K-12 curriculum designed to dissuade teachers from teaching science in order to support climate change denial.
A key passage:
We are pursuing a proposal…to produce a global warming curriculum for K-12 schools…[this] effort will focus on providing curriculum that shows that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain – two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science.
A coal industry consultant named David Wojick (who has a Ph.D. in something called “Philosophy of Science”) was to be paid $100,000 to design these classroom materials. Heartland also targeted publications like Forbes as new mouthpieces, since
“Efforts at places such as Forbes are especially important now that they have begun to allow high-profile climate scientists (such as [Peter] Gleick) to post warmist science essays that counter our own. This influential audience has usually been reliably anti-climate and it is important to keep opposing voices out.”
The documents were released by an anonymous leak, and have thus far been verified by budget comparisons, tax documents and metadata in the documents that were released. Ironically, Heartland was one of the cheerleaders for the manufactured email-leak controversy known as “ClimateGate” in 2009-2010.
This is some of the most damning proof I’ve ever seen of the depth of organization, money and conspiracy that goes into today’s science denialism movement.
Rundown of good coverage:
DeSmogBlog has released the full documents and has more background
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) selected an organization headed by former space shuttle astronaut Mae Jemison to develop a project to launch humans to another star a century from now, a program known as 100 Year Starship.
“We can confirm that the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence has been selected for negotiation for a grant award for the 100 Year Starship effort,” DARPA program manager Paul Eremenko said in a statement.
Using sea slugs as models, scientists someday may be able to design learning protocols that improve long-term memory formation in humans, a new study suggests.
The researchers used information about biochemical pathways in the brain of the sea slug Aplysia to design a computer model that identified the times when the mollusk’s brain is primed for learning. They tested the model by submitting the animals to a series of training sessions, involving electric shocks, and found that Aplysia experienced a significant increase in memory formation when the sessions were conducted during the peak periods predicted by the model.
The proof-of-principle study may someday help scientists discover ways to improve human memory, the researchers said.
“This is very impressive,” David Glanzman, a neurobiologist at the University of California Los Angeles, said of the study, in which he was not involved. “If someone had asked me ahead of time, ‘Are you going to be able to improve learning if you model these two pathways?’ I would have predicted no.”
Yes, I’m reblogging mostly for the picture, though the article is interesting to. I love nudibrachs (a name that sounds so much better than “sea slugs”,) but mostly I’m curious to know what those lovely little round blue things are.
Archaeologists in the Burnt City have discovered what appears to be an ancient prosthetic eye. What makes this discovery exceptionally awesome is the striking description of how the owner and her false eye would have appeared while she was still alive and blinking:
A direct-mail solicitation for Ron Paul’s political and investment newsletters two decades ago warned of a “coming race war in our big cities” and of a “federal-homosexual cover-up” to play down the impact of AIDS.
Side Note: I have a thing for fuzzy insects, more specifically the tiny jumping spiders that I’ve always found to be the most adorable creatures on the face of the planet [next to my cat]. This is a very interesting article that caught my eye via Wired that explains how these little guys not only see with their multiple eyes.. but also with their hair!
How their tiny specialized hairs do it has puzzled researchers for decades, but one team of scientists may have found a break. Their physics-focused work suggests each hair acts like a single, independent ear — not a network of ear parts that, together, turn a spider’s exoskeleton into one giant ear, as was previously assumed.
“Nobody had looked at these hairs in just the right way. When you look at what they are mechanically optimized to do, you could design better ones,” said physicist Brice Bathellier of the Institute Of Molecular Pathology in Vienna, who co-authored a study of trichobothria hairs Dec. 14 in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.
“But nature optimizes. Animals evolve under stringent conditions,” Bathellier said. “So it became a question of what [the hairs] actually do, what type of signals tell animals ‘I should leave’ or ‘that’s just wind blowing on me.’”
Trichobothria are fine hairs found on spiders, insects and other animals with exoskeletons. The hairs are so sensitive that some can pick up air movement down to one ten-billionth of a meter, roughly the width of an atom, allowing animals to feel the presence of nearby predators and prey. (Crickets and flies, for example, have tufts of them on their rumps to sense prowling enemies.)